You are here

Why the Internet doesn't need saving

Net neutrality fear-mongering aside, the Internet doesn’t need new net neutrality regulation to survive or thrive. The Internet is healthy and flourishing on its own. The Internet is no baby anymore that needs a government nanny for its protection and sustenance. The Internet is all grown up and fully capable of taking care of itself.

It’s important to remember the many natural and powerful defenses the Internet has developed to protect itself -- that do not depend on net neutrality.

First and foremost, the Internet is the only universally-accepted and ubiquitously-deployed communications technology on the planet; this affords the Internet extraordinary importance, influence and independence.

  • The Internet is comprised of many universally-accepted, consensus-driven standards that no one entity can control or change:
    Internet transmission protocol (IP), which enables every different communications technology, copper, cable, fiber, wireless, etc. to be fully interoperable and function as one network.

    • The Domain Name System (DNS), administered by the international non-profit corporation ICANN, provides a unique universally–recognized addressing system to find any device connected to the Internet.
    • The World Wide Web (WWW.) is another universally-accepted standard that makes all text, graphics, sound and animation residing on all HTTP Internet servers accessible to users with a point and a click.
    • These universal Internet standards make the Internet what it is -- not net neutrality. These are the core standards that are necessary for everyone to reach the Internet’s worldwide audience -- not net neutrality.

  • Second, the Internet is a network of networks, where no single entity’s network is essential for the Internet to work; this makes the Internet a naturally competitive and self-correcting organism.

    • If one company or entity begins to operate outside Internet standards, other networks correct for it by beginning to reroute more and more traffic away from the offending network.
    • The Internet is basically the opposite of a unilateral or controllable system.

  • Third, the Internet is also the world’s largest competitive marketplace where free and open competition empowers internet users with increasingly more choices. The highly competitive nature of the Internet is one of the Internet’s most powerful self-correcting mechanisms. Companies must focus on satisfying customers or lose them.

Net neutrality proponents forget that the Internet did not take off until the U.S. Government got out of the way and commercialized the operation of the Internet in the early 1990’s. Only then was it able to become a vibrant competitive marketplace.

Finally, the Internet’s empowerment of edge users makes the Internet extremely decentralized -- by design. A natural outgrowth of this natural decentralization is a highly savvy and vigilant user community, which affords the Internet yet another layer of natural and powerful self-defense.

Net neutrality hysteria aside, the Internet has more than enough ability to protect itself. The Internet does not need the U.S. government to save it from more competition.